Jemma Cowley, a Working Transitions Personal Career Manager, explains some of the challenges that candidates face and offers advice to propel your job campaign into the modern day!
Predictable job interviews
Historically, when you were lucky enough to get invited to interview you knew exactly what to expect. Today, interviewers employ a variety of techniques – some of which you may not have experienced before:
- With many organisations taking advantage of technological developments, initial interviews – or in some cases the full interview process – are often conducted by telephone, facetime or skype. Don’t be alarmed by this – prepare in exactly the same way as you would for a face to face interview and, on the day, ensure that you have somewhere quiet to take the call where you will not be disturbed
- It’s not unusual to face a panel interview. Even for a relatively junior role, representatives from HR, the hiring department and perhaps an individual performing a similar role are all invested in a successful outcome and the right candidate being chosen.
- Psychometric tests, assessment centres and the requirement for the candidate to present at interview are also commonplace - don’t panic – with careful preparation these can work in your favour and help ensure you get the job that’s right for you.
One CV vs Many
Previously, it was completely acceptable to have one standard CV that simply listed all of your work experience. This would be used for all applications – regardless of the job. It is now an expectation that your CV will be tailored to the role and that it clearly demonstrates key skills and achievements that relate to the job in question. Generally, only the past 10-15 years of work experience are of interest to the hiring company.
The extra work that is required to tailor your CV is well worth it to ensure you are successful during the initial screening process and that you are shown in the best possible light.
Is there anybody out there?
Due to the large volume of job applications and CV’s received, many employers won’t acknowledge receipt unless you are successful in being invited to interview. Don’t take it personally! Good employers pay attention to the candidate experience and many are working on improving their communications as a way of enhancing their brand reputation – if you don’t hear anything back after an application think of it as a reflection on them rather than you and don’t lose heart!
The Policeman effect
You know you’re getting older when you spot a policeman who looks like he’s fresh out of sixth form. The same is true of interviewers - the era of only very senior staff being responsible for interviewing is long gone. Don’t be alarmed if the interviewer appears significantly younger than you – have faith that they have the relevant experience and job knowledge to conduct the interview and remember that age is just a number.
LinkedIn, Glassdoor and the hiring Organisation’s website are all really useful tools to help you prepare for interview. However, with the internet crammed full of information for jobseekers it can be difficult not to get bogged down. Write a list of the kind of information you want to prepare – the organisations culture, landscape and challenges can all be useful. This will keep you focused and stop you wasting time on information that is not going to be useful. Remember also not to believe everything that you read about an organisation – reviews from disgruntled ex-employees can pack quite a punch but seek out a balanced view if you can
Maybe worth adding something around keeping a bank of skills and achievements in a separate document and swapping and changing these depending on which are most relevant for the role – rather than having to rewrite a CV each time
Particularly true when applying through large online sites due to CV Harvesting etc.
If applying through high street agencies – do feel free to chase up applications with a telephone call in order to open communication channels and explore other vacancies they may be looking to fill.